This month, more than 6,000 employees signed onto a letter demanding Amazon distance itself from big oil companies and develop a more aggressive timeline to reduce its carbon footprint. Without acknowledging the letter’s demands, Amazon spokespersons pointed to a recent blog post promising that the company would release its carbon footprint data in 2019 and a vague plan to reach 100 percent renewable energy at data centers by an unspecified date.
Amazon, one of the most profitable companies in the world, has a massive carbon footprint, because it ships millions of products throughout the world. It also maintains enormous cloud data and artificial intelligence centers, which need to be powered and cooled 24/7. According to Amazon’s website, the data services help companies like BP and Dutch Royal Shell “find oil faster” and reduce oil prices.
Related: Amazon plans to reach net-zero carbon use by 2030
The employees argue that such partnerships, largely undisclosed even to the company’s sustainability team, demonstrate a disingenuous commitment to reducing Amazon’s carbon footprint.
Like many tech companies, Amazon offers employees stock benefits. In an unprecedented move, the employees used their power as shareholders to develop a sustainability resolution, which garnered 6,033 signatures by April 12. Such pressure from stakeholders typically comes from outside investors and rarely from employees.
The New York Times called the action “the largest employee-driven movement related to climate change to ever take place in such an influential tech company.”
Rajit Iftikhar, a software engineer at Amazon, told the Times, “We want to make Amazon a better company. It is a natural extension of that.”’
Amazon’s board typically votes on proposed shareholder resolutions in April.
Via New York Times
Image via Robert Scoble